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S19 E11: Garden Upgrade, Adirondack Chair

Jenn demonstrates how to clean up a garden; Ross explains how air filters can catch unwanted air impurities and demonstrates how to build a DIY one; Tom and Kevin build an Adirondack chair.

Previous episode: S19 E10 | Next episode: S19 E12

In this episode:

Landscape designer Jenn Nawada takes an overgrown flower bed and transforms it into a beautiful garden. Jenn demonstrates how to clean up a garden by pruning, dividing, and defining the edges. Without spending too much extra money, Jenn shows you how to expand your garden while blending it in with an already established landscape.

Home technology expert Ross Trethewey teaches how air filtration systems work and how to build a localized DIY air filter. Ross explains the MERV air filtration system. MERV stands for Minimal Efficiency Reporting Value, a value that measures how effectively a filter stops particulates of varying sizes from passing through and into the air system.

The higher the rating, the more effective the filter is at capturing smaller particles. Ratings 1-16 are HVAC use; in general, houses usually have around a MERV 5-12 system. MERV 17-20 are HEPA filters that are used in hospitals and laboratories. Ross clarifies that homeowners cannot just install a MERV 16 or HEPA filter into their homes. In many circumstances, the HVAC systems homeowners have in place simply aren’t strong enough to handle higher-rated filters, as the more filtration the air has to go through, the more resistance it has to overcome.

Even if you were to get a thicker filter that increases surface area, meaning less resistance, you’ll have to check if your HVAC system has enough space to install a thicker filter. Check with an HVAC technician to check what rating your system can handle. If you are unable to acquire a higher rated filter, Ross demonstrates how to build your own DIY air filter. By taking four MERV-13 air filters and duct taping them on all four sides of a box fan, you’ll have a localized air filter for any room you want. For about $150, you can have a little peace of mind during wildfires and other disasters that impact our air quality.

General contractor Tom Silva and Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor build an Adirondack chair. These iconic outdoor lawn chairs originated in the Adirondack region of New York in the early 1900s, the original design has been redesigned and reimagined ever since. Tom demonstrates how to build an Adirondack chair by using a template and a project plan. He chose to modify the plan slightly and make his chairs out of pressure-treated lumber so it will weather nicely and keep the chair sturdy.

Tom and Kevin must cut a variety of pieces that will eventually make up the chair. Due to the unique shape of an Adirondack chair, each cut will require different tools and measurements, this is why Tom chose to use a template. While the process of building an Adirondack chair can be a lot of work, the finished product is well worth it.


Garden Expansion

Jenn Nawada takes an overgrown flower bed and transforms it into a beautiful garden. Jenn cleans up the garden by pruning, dividing, and defining the edges.

Where to find it?

To redefine and expand the garden area, Jenn lined the garden bed with gray cobblestones. These were sourced by Plymouth Quarries.

Most of the plants Jenn used in the garden were already existing and just needed to be divided up. However, Jenn did select a few additional plants to add some color and textures to the garden, including tickseed, echinacea purpurea, garden phlox, coreopsis, and heather, which she got at Mahoney’s Garden Center.

The other materials Jenn used to expand the garden, including shovels and mulch, can be found at home centers and nurseries.


DIY Air Filter

Ross Trethewey explains how air filtration systems work and how to build a localized DIY air filter.

Where to find it?

Ross built the air filter using four, 20x20x2, MERV-13 air filters, which Ross got from Filterbuy. He duct-taped the filters to a cardboard box and a 20-in 3-Speed Box Fan, which is manufactured by Lasko, though any 20” fan would work for this application.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Neil Comparetto.


Build It | Adirondack Chair

Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor build a classic Adirondack chair. Tom demonstrates how to build an Adirondack chair by using a template and a project plan.

Where to find it?

Tom used the Classic Adirondack Chair Template and Project Plan from Rockler to figure out how to make all the different cuts. The plan comes with cardboard templates for the different pieces of the chair and some project plans to use as a guide.

Tom built the chair out of 5/4” x 6” pressure treated decking material, which can be found at any home center or lumber yard. Any rot-resistant lumber would also work well for an Adirondack chair.

To cut and shape the boards, Tom used a combination of a 1-HP Steel Frame Bandsaw from Delta Machinery, a router table, and an Industrial Table Saw from SawStop.

The other tools and materials Tom and Kevin used to build the chair, including exterior rated screws and drill drivers, can all be found at home centers.

Original Air Date: Jan 17, 2021 Season 19; Ep.11 23:42


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